Planet Sinclair


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Last updated
26 Feb 1998

Sir Clive in plan to build
electric cars at Reliant

DAILY TELEGRAPH, 31 January 1996


By David Graves

A NEW electric car invented by Sir Clive Sinclair could hold the key to the recovery of the financially troubled car company Reliant, renowned for its three-wheeled Robin vehicles.

Sir Clive said yesterday that he had been discussing the project with Reliant before the company was placed into administration last month and hoped to resume negotiations when a new buyer was found.

The 55-year-old innovator, who founded Sinclair Research in 1979 to develop and market new consumer electronics products, said the electric car was designed specifically for use in towns.

It would have a top speed of 50mph and the owner would be able to recharge it at home.

Sir Clive, who has developed a range of personal computers, suffered an embarrassing flop when his earlier C5 electric trike failed to revolutionise British transport but insisted that he saw a future for his new design of car.

He said that he had first approached Reliant because of its expertise in building lightweight vehicles and hoped the new car could boost the company's fortunes.

Sir Clive said: "The original plan was to float Reliant and sell shares to raise funds for the electric car project.

"Things have been put on hold because of their financial problems but we are hoping funds can be found to get the situation resolved.

"The vehicle would be a lightweight but robust design for local use such as driving into town or to the station. It would be a proper car with a low cost and cheap to run."

Most of Reliant's workforce of 110 at its factory in Tamworth, Staffs, were laid off at the end of the year after the company was put into administration and a new buyer was sought.

Kevin Murphy, an administrator at the Tamworth plant, said: "We are trying to sell the business and hopefully it will survive but I can't comment on who we are discussing the sale with."